SugarHouse Mama

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Berkeley the Bowling King

Rus and Berkeley are in town (Rus, for work, Berkeley, to spend time with his Grandma and Grandpa). Rus called us Tuesday, wanting to get together. We decided on pizza and bowling Wednesday night. I used entertaining Berkeley as an excuse, but really, I love to see Robert in bowling shoes and shorts - my favorite style!

We met up around 6ish and the semi-competitive bowling game began (I have to say semi because Robert would never allow me to tell you that he was taking it seriously and only beat Berkeley by 5 pins!)

That's right, folks. An almost-6-year-old beat the pants off my score and nearly tied with Robert for 1st place during round 1. Robert won with 114 and Berkeley, boy-wonder of bowling, bowled a 109! Rus and me??? Ummm, too pathetic to mention. Although Rus warmed up and won the second game (I LOST!!!)

While it was a little humiliating, it was really fun, and it was great to see Rus and Berkeley. We will have to plan an excursion to Seattle soon! We sure miss spending time with family.

So You Think You Can Dance - Chelsea and Mark - Bleeding Love

Well, I can't find my other two favorites tonight, but I guess it doesn't matter when I have this one! I LOVED it and I'm glad I can finally add fellow Utah girl, Chelsea to my list of fav dances....

Of course, I loved Twitch/Kherington and Joshua/Katee, but I can't find their dances yet and it's getting rather late.

Anyway, the premise is basically the same as the Joshua/Katee routine from a couple weeks ago, but I still really enjoyed watching this one. (Hated Chelsea's pants, but whatever.)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some New Friends

Two families that are * fairly* close to us are on their way to pick up their daughters from Ghana. I spoke with one family on the phone (they are adopting 2 girls, both older than Sarah) and the mother volunteered to take some pictures and even some video of Sarah if she got the chance. Keep your fingers crossed! I'm looking forward to seeing her in action!

Robert and I went down to Provo to meet the other family. They are adopting a girl who is just about the same age as Sarah! Shortly after she is home, they will be moving up to the Salt Lake area, so that will be awesome! I am already looking forward to spending more time with them - and knowing people (who live near us) that have Ghanaian children will be so great for Sarah! It really means a lot to me that she will know other children who are from the same country.

Well, that's about it for now - I'm hoping to snap a couple pictures of our concrete progress to share with you tomorrow!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Photo Book Fools

Aimee came over last night to help me make a photo book for Sarah. After much deliberating and a little stressing (on my part) we got most of it finished and then watched the So You Think You Can Dance results show.

I finished it up this morning and took some snapshots of it to share with you. It's almost cute enough to be worthy of Sarah!

Thanks for your help Am! (Not only is she an experienced scrapbooking 'sounding board', Amy kept me sane. Because I'm a perfectionist who fears everyone is judging my ability, I was stressing that this book would be considered a direct reflection of my mothering capacity. Amy would say 'that's ridiculous!' and then slap on some glue and paste a picture down.)

Here's to recognizing when you are being ridiculous!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Phone Calls to Africa

So I was able to talk to Kingsley this morning. I had written down a bunch of questions about Sarah and we got through ALL of them, with time to spare!

She is an only child, and both her parents died when she was an infant. Her aunt and uncle took care of her for a while, but just couldn't afford to do it anymore. The uncle took her to the orphanage several months ago. He (the uncle) comes to visit her and check up on her regularly.

The school is not outfitted to accommodate really young children, so Sarah, along with a few other young ones stay with foster families nearby. They attend the school during the week days and then stay with their foster families over the weekend.

She is half Ewe, half Fanti (also Fante - it's spelled both ways) and she speaks mostly Fante, but some limited English. (The area I taught was mostly Ewe - so I know a few Ewe words, but only a couple Fante...I'll need to brush up a little, I guess!)

Sarah is quiet at first, but really opens up after she gets to know you (I think this is pretty common for most 2-year-olds). Kingsley said she is a beautiful, quiet girl. He has never, ever seen her act aggressively and she loves to play with the other children. Everyone loves her, he said. She is calm, but active. He said Sarah is a cheerful, clever girl.

Her favorite foods: Rice (they flavor it with a yummy spice-sauce sort of thing that I love!) and YAMS! Looks like Robert will be eating a lot of yams soon! lol. He'll have to get used to them , I guess.

There is an American couple helping out at the orphanage until the end of July. I also spoke with them for a bit. They will spend time with Sarah and interact with her and speak as much English as they can to her so her adjustment is a little easier.

Tonight our friend Amy is coming over. We are going to make a little scrapbook for Sarah. It will have pictures of Robert and me, our house, and Eden.

Oh, and last but NOT LEAST.... Sarah's birthday is July 11! She will be 2 VERY soon!

Twitch and Kherington - Viennese Waltz

I totally love these guys! This Viennese Waltz is sooooo beautiful. I love that it is more "relaxed" and flowing than the typical Viennese. My fav moment: when Twitch sways while he's holding Kherington in his arms. LOVE IT!

So You Think You Can Dance Katee and Joshua

Probably my #1 fav for this week! I'm seriously loving Joshua and Katee.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An Introduction to the Faith of the Ghanaian People

A few quick points and then my story:

  • Lois called me today

  • We get to call Kingsley and Sarah tomorrow at 9am! We get to hear her voice! YEAH!

  • I need to go buy a phone card!

  • Sarah's birthday is coming up...but it's still a surprise - Lois wouldn't tell me. She wanted Kingsley to be able to tell me! I'm DYING to know!

  • It's getting really hot... the dog days of summer are coming on strong - This is how Eden spends her days... I wish I could join her!

Kingsley is taking care of some paperwork for another family adopting from Ghana (they are not adopting from LuckyHill, but he is helping anyway). He needed to take some paperwork to the Embassy (?) I can't remember now where he was taking it, but it seems like it was the Embassy.

He got to Accra, where the building used to be and no one was there...they had moved. He was finally able to get directions on their new location and when he got there he recognized the building. He had dreamt about it previously - in such detail that he knew exactly where to go and who to talk to about the family's paperwork.

I had the opportunity to meet many people when I was teaching in Ghana, and they are such a faith-filled people. I don't know whether they simply pay more attention, or if it's just the way God speaks to them, but it seems that their dreams are filled with inspiration.

So there you have it. Ghanaian Faith 101. (I have a feeling that there will be many more opportunities for faith-filled experiences as we embark on our adoption journey)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

News From Lois!

I just received an email from Lois! I LOVE hearing from her!

Another family adopting from Luckyhill just got their approval and Joe, the husband, is flying to Ghana Monday to pick up their daughter! They live nearby; it will be great for Sarah to have another little girl close who shares her heritage.
Luckyhill's website is up and running, I'll put a link on my sidebar, but here it is again, in case you are interested . They are trying to raise money to build a new facility - as you can see, the current one is inadequate on so many levels. Actually, pretty much all of our money is going towards running the school - which is awesome.

And the best news of all... Lois is arranging for us to call Kingsley and Sarah! We will be able to talk to them both! We are ecstatic! (Realistically, we are not expecting much by way of conversation from Sarah, but still, we are excited!) Hopefully we will be able to call next week! Don't worry - I'll keep you posted.
p.s. Drop me a line if you have a question about Sarah or the school you would like me to ask.

And I thought I was getting OLD!

As part of the adoption process, Robert and I had to get a complete physical exam. FUN! lol. I don't hate going to the Dr., but I do view it as an annoyance.

Anyway, my blood test came back. Apparently I have Hypothyroidism. It turns out my increasing difficulty to remember things, weight gain, ah-hem hair loss, and fatigue (not to mention several other more personal symptoms ;0) ) are not a result of me just getting older. For the last few years I've just chalked up most of those facts to not being 19 anymore.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. I am relieved that there is an explanation for nearly everything I have been 'dealing with' over the last few years, but at the same time it's something that will need to be managed for the rest of my life: I will need to take daily pills and have blood tests done regularly to make sure my dosage is correct.

So I've been taking these little pills (actually, only half of a little pill) daily for just about a week, and I'm feeling a little better already. Which is a good sign. I have to take the pills for 6 weeks, then go back for another blood test to make sure the dosage is correct. I just love having a nurse stick me with a needle and draw out all that blood!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Home Study Update, & etc.

Yesterday was a pretty full day.

Eden completed her Intermediate Obedience class and the Canine Good Citizen test was administered yesterday. Believe it or not, she passed! lol. I think she knew she was being tested and was on remarkable good behavior. We were worried about 2 sections, she had to properly greet the administer and allow the administer to look at her teeth and touch her paws. We also had to leave Eden with the administer for 3 minutes and Eden had to behave.

The problem is that Eden loves strangers soooo much and gets overly excited at the possibility of making a new friend. But she did just fine. So we now have a dog that is recognized by the AKC as being a Good Citizen. (Now if we can just convince our friends, neighbors, and family that she is a Good Citizen!)

We came home from Eden's test all ready to be "tested" ourselves. Anne, our Social Worker arrived about 20 minutes after we got home.

The home study visit lasted about 3 hours. We went over some general information and she told us what the next steps are in the home study. She also asked some questions of clarification on the 23 page autobiographies we had to fill out. Then she met with each of us individually to talk about our desires to adopt and all that. We gave her a quick tour of the home, and that was it.

Next on the check list is to complete about 10 hours of training. Luckily it's online so we can do it whenever it's most convenient. We have another appointment scheduled in about 10 days and we need to have the training completed by then.

Getting closer! Yeah!

I am Marianne Dashwood

Not surprising in the least; I've known it for years....

I found this quiz reading through some of GREM's old blogs (thanks, Elizabeth Bennet!) Click on the pic and it will, *should*, take you to the quiz.

I am Marianne Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

You Are...Marianne Dashwood!

You are Marianne Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are impulsive, romantic, impatient, and perhaps a bit too brutally honest. You enjoy romantic poetry and novels, and play the pianoforte beautifully. To boot, your singing voice is captivating. You feel deeply, and love passionately.

The only part that probably doesn't truly apply to me would be the piano playing and singing bit...of course, I do a mean Bohemian Rhapsody - just ask Robert!

Friday, June 13, 2008

To Make Room...

To make room for Sarah, we are getting rid of a few items.... Sofa, Chair, and TV. I promise, it makes sense!

Anyway, I'll put the pics and prices up here (they are also on craigslist and If you know anyone who might be interested, please let us know. The money we get from the items will be used to help buy her bedroom furniture.

Thanks for spreading the word!

Awesome Vintage Chair: $75.00 (I LOVE this chair. Not only is it a great color and totally unique and fun, it swivels! I'm really sad to see this baby go, but if Robert is sacrificing his TV, I think I can manage without it)

Sleeper Sofa: $150.00 This is the sofa we currently have in our living room (the shuffle of furniture will allow me to move my "home office" out of the room that will be Sarah's)

38" Flat Screen TV w/ 2 matching stands ("and remote," Robert wants me to add): $750.00 (The tall component tower is not shown)

Home Study Tomorrow

Our social worker, Anne, is coming tomorrow for our home study. It's our first meeting with her, she will do our home interview and our individual interviews. I'm a little nervous, I admit it, even though I know it's going to be great.

I really like Anne. I called about 12 different agencies and independent social workers when I started looking for someone. Out of those 11 or 12 I only spoke with 4! The rest NEVER RETURNED MY CALL! I figured that was a good indicator that I didn't want to work with them, so it really narrowed the field.

Tangent: I work in a straight commission field as an independent contractor, so maybe I'm harder on people, but seriously - not even bothering to return my call?!?!? I was pretty much saying, I want to hire you. I want to pay you good money to help me, and all you need to do it call me back. I just don't get it sometimes.....

Back to Anne. As I mentioned I spoke with several other SWs on the phone. Although Anne was the most expensive (ranging from about $100-$250 difference) I felt most comfortable with her. She seemed like she knew what she was talking about, she was familiar with new changes to adoption laws and policies, and she was positive. I considered going with the cheapest SW because they are all do the same job, but when I reflected on our conversation I changed my mind. She cited some changes to international adoption policy, but wasn't sure if it applied to Ghana. Instead of finding out and getting back to me, she put all the research on me. And she put me in a panic - she made me think it was highly possible we wouldn't be able to complete the adoption. I figured I needed someone to make the process more smooth, not someone who would ruffle all my feathers and create obstacles where none existed. There are enough hoops to jump through! I don't want extra ones!

So Anne it was. Plus, she was the only one who immediately started sending me paperwork to fill out and a list of documents to start collecting. I am perfectly willing to pay extra for a proactive, speedy response to my needs.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

SYTYCD Twitch and Kherington Broadway

Found my other fav from last night! I just LOVE Twitch! And Kherington is just beautiful and soooo fun to watch!

SYTYCD, Katie and Joshua hip hop dance

I had mixed feelings when this one was introduced. I LOVE Joshua, but I really didn't want Katee to do well because she was such a brat when they were choosing the top 20, and I HATED the Hip Hop number the show opened with (same choreographers).

But I really did like it a lot. Perhaps even my fav for tonight.

So You Think You Can Dance

Tonight it starts.... well, really starts. Auditions are fun and all, but as far as I'm concerned, the show begins when the top 20 start dancing.
Since I can't find my fav dances on YouTube yet, I'm treating myself to my two favorite dances of all time. I tried to sneak Neil and Sabra's "Sweet Dreams" power negotiation dance on here - love that one too, but it I can't find one that is not from the live tour (poor recording quality) that will play once it's posted. Sorry people. It's a great one, you'll just have to find it yourself on YouTube... (I also love Travis and Heidi's Paso Doble)

Heidi and Travis - Contemporary (Calling You)

So emotional - LOVE it!

Jamie and Hok - The Humming Bird and the Flower

Beautiful and Strong - just the way dance should be.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mom and Dad and the Crystal Skull

My mom and dad have been in town this week - Saying goodbye to family before they head to the islands. We haven't seen much of them, though.

Robert and I went to see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull or whatever it's called with mom and dad, Jill and Hibbs, and Rod and Cathy last night. It was *alright*. You have to love Indy, really, but I had a hard time with the whole alien thing. Aliens who have been dead since the 15th century, coming to life in order to grant your greatest desire (which, in true Indy fashion, if it's selfish will kill you), and then resurrect their ancient space ship and shoot off into space - - correction - - "the space between space" was just a little over the top.

Oh well. Robert and I talked about it a bit, and I think I'm coming to grips with it - A LITTLE. We compared it to the other Indy flicks: an ancient society who believes in the mystical power of their god. In all the others, the mystical power turned out to be true, so I guess it's keeping with the faith, so to speak.

I also took issue with the whole reunite-with-the-old-flame-and-oh-by-the-way-he's-your-son bit. sigh. There were some funny bits, though, and it was basically entertaining.

Adding it to the Indy collection is up for debate. You almost HAVE to so you have the entire collection, but then it becomes like Rocky, and you realize you could really do without 1 or 2 of those....

Sunday, June 8, 2008


When I got home from Denver (after I woke up from my 13 hour "doze") I had a couple missed calls from Lois.

(Lois is the woman in Heber who is helping us adopt from the same orphanage/school she adopted from several years ago)

She had received pictures of children who are waiting to be adopted. I was so excited! Robert had to work Saturday, so he wasn't home. I could barely contain myself, but I made myself go through the other 56 emails and save hers for last. I knew if I looked at her emails first, I would never get back to the others.

I started with the first one - it had pictures of 3 siblings. So very cute. The second one had two children who were not related - a boy and a girl. Also very cute. Then there was Sarah. She was in the last email. I about died! My heart started racing and I knew I was a gonner!

I called Lois immediately and was just gushing. She was thrilled (she thought Sarah would be 'the one' and so did Kingsley (he runs the orphanage/school near Cape Coast). When Lois told Kingsley about us and that we wanted to adopt from his school, he said he knew Sarah would be ours.

Anyway, I wanted to wait until Robert got home before I said anything. I wanted to make sure he got to see all the pictures without my bias. Robert called on his way home and I told him Lois had sent some pictures.
I pulled the pics up and we went through them, commenting here and there. Sarah's picture was last. As soon as Robert saw her his face lit up. He kept saying "She's a cutie" over and over.

Anyway, we are thrilled to share our first picture of Sarah with you.... Watch out - she's a heart thief! Don't say I didn't warn you!

I just love that she is biting her little lip! I have a school picture of Robert when he was about 5 - the look on Sarah's face reminds me of that picture. I just love it!


I am so exhausted!

Tuesday night I flew to Denver. My flight was delayed, so we didn't get back to mom and dad's until around 11pm. We were up until after 3am organizing the things we would be taking in the U-Haul back to Utah.

We were up again at about 6 Wednesday to finish separating out the things mom and dad were giving to Chuck and Katie and Jim and Jill. The movers showed up about 10am and began packing up the house. A few people were going to come by at 3:30 to help load the U-Haul, but no one showed up. The movers left around 5 when they ran out of boxes.

Shortly after that, we left for the temple. We participated in the 7pm session and Cody received his endowment. It was a very special time for our family. The Spirit testified to us how powerful eternal families are. The promises made by God are real! Cody just glowed with the light of Christ. It was awesome.

Some of the men who were at the temple came over to help us load. Someone also recruited a bunch of young men to help - that was a huge sacrifice for them because they had to wake up very early then next morning to leave for a youth conference.

With all the help, we got most of the U-Haul loaded by around midnight. Mom, Dad, and I worked for a couple more hours and then went to bed.

Thursday, the movers came back to finishing packing and load everything onto the truck. They were a little behind because the job wasn't finished Wednesday, but they kept at it. From about 8am to 10:30pm we were packing, loading, and cleaning the house. Several women from church came over with their daughters to help clean the house. I seriously don't think we could have done it without all the help from church members! They were life savers!

We pulled out just after 10:30 and started the trip to Utah. Sometime around 3am we pulled into Laramie, WY. We checked into a hotel room, got about 3 hours of sleep, and then started out again Friday morning.

Finally, at 1pm we arrived in Salt Lake. We'd only had about 12 hours of sleep in 3 days and we were so sore from all the moving and lifting. I got about a 2 hour nap before I had to head over to a closing. When I got home, we unloaded my part of the truck - which included the piano!

Wow. It's been a VERY long time since I was that physically exhausted. All the hard labor on top of very little sleep was taxing, for sure.

I slept for about 13 hours Friday night (and all of Saturday morning!).

Ok. I have to take a little side trip here and give a shout out to Robert. While I was gone he did a great job keeping the house clean! It was so nice to come home, that tired, and not have to worry about cleaning anything up. It made my 13 hours of catch-up sleep possible. He had his own struggle while I was gone - he went to the doctor for a physical exam (required by the home study) and had to get a tetanus shot. It made him so sick! Anyway, he did a great job keeping everything together even though he wasn't feeling well. He's pretty awesome. Love Ya, Babe! :0)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

(Love this original cover)

This was the book club book for the month. I'm a little disappointed I will be in Denver when we meet.

Anyway, let's get right to it. The book let me down. I was annoyed by the main character/narrator. She was so insecure - too insecure. It bothers me when an author takes one trait for the character and focuses primarily on it. I found myself skimming over the narrator's lengthy discussions of her insecurities and thoughts. It was just too much.
The dress bit was so predictable. I was annoyed that she made such a big deal of it - I guess because I saw it coming, the sense of shock just wasn't there for me. I just kept saying, "big deal, put on something else."
The whole mystery over Rebecca's last day alive wasn't suspenseful or surprising for me either. Again, I found myself skimming through most of the end, just wanting to get the book finished so I could move on to another one.
Maxim's true feelings for Rebecca were a surprise; however, I think it made the characters less dynamic. It took away the only depth of character I found in the book. (sigh)
I really liked the idea of Maxim struggling between love for his late wife and love for his new, younger and awkward one. I think that revelation patronized the narrator and her feelings of insecurity. I would have liked to see an ending that allowed the characters more complexity.
I hate to admit it, but as I read the book I kept thinking it would make a better movie. (I haven't yet seen any of the movie adaptations, but I am eager to see if this holds true). It reminded me a lot of the movie What Lies Beneath: a wife haunted by a woman from her husband's past, living with and contending with that presence on a daily basis. The water imagery was even present in both. I felt like that movie handled the suspense a lot better than this book. I wonder if Rebecca was inspiration for the script....
Anyway, I didn't hate the book, and I certainly wouldn't have read it if it weren't a book club book, but at least it was a fast read. It got me through the two days I spent in AZ while Robert was attending his conference and I sat out by the pool!
Well I've been as busy as a beaver today! lol. I thought I would take a break and indulge myself in the blogging world for a bit.

Cody is going to receive his endowment tomorrow so I'm headed off to Denver so I can be there. I'm so excited for him!

The movers will show up at my parents house Wednesday morning and will be packing them up until Thursday. I am going to be taking the piano and some of their antique furniture that would never survive a move to Hawaii and back. Mom, Dad, and I will be driving back a U-Haul in a dash to be back by Friday. I have a closing scheduled that I must attend.

So, to prepare for all this today I have been doing laundry, cleaning the house, making room for the additional furniture, and packing!

I have another closing scheduled for 3:30 today, so I'm off to that here in a bit.

When Robert gets home we are going to rent a carpet cleaner so we can make sure the empty bedroom is completely ready for mom and dad's antique bedroom set. For all you out-of-towners, this means we will finally have a guest bedroom for you! No more sleeping on the pull out!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Bump in the Road

It’s been an eventful few days. After submitting our adoption application to Beacon House, we began our home study. Everyone means it when they say it’s a lot of paperwork!

Anyway, on Friday Beacon House decided they knew more about our faith and religious beliefs then we do. They denied our application because they didn’t consider us to be “active, church-going Bible believing Christians.” (The prize goes to Kristy for guessing that might happen).
Robert wasn’t home when I got the news. Needless to say, I was pretty upset. But, after a couple days of trying to re-group and re-examine our options, our feelings about the “set-back” and disappointment have already changed.

I just know that a long, drawn-out, and very painful process was avoided. Not working with Beacon House has already proved to be a great blessing for us.
We have found a local woman who adopted from Ghana about 9 years ago. I spent nearly 2 hours talking on the phone with her today and I was thrilled! Through various contacts she already has in place, she is helping several other couples adopt from Ghana. She is working with a school/orphanage near Cape Coast and they are establishing an adoption program directly through the school.

The costs will be about half of an agency’s. So that is a major bonus. And, fingers crossed, it might be possible for her to arrange for free airfare for the children.
They are working on a website, and have a few pictures of waiting children that she can get!
We were so pleased with the way we were directed to her. She just kept saying that, throughout the adoption process, you just need to expect miracles. So far, after only a few days, we have at least 1!

As for our concrete project... forecast calls for MORE RAIN! So, while we have concrete, Jaron can't stain, seal, etc. it until we have at least 3 days of clear skies.

Utah will have no need to fear a drought this year if we continue to plan projects that require clear skies....